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  • Godzilla

    Godzilla

    ★★★½

    I hadn't planned to write about my recent rewatch of the first Godzilla movie, but watching The Lost World earlier today has helped put words to some thoughts about Godzilla that have been swirling around in my head.

    I should start by saying that I've always liked the ideas driving Godzilla more than I like the film itself. I take no issue with the preponderance of human-level action as opposed to city-smashing monster action, or with the resulting fact that Godzilla isn't exactly a "monster…

  • Snow Trail

    Snow Trail

    ★★★★

    Snow Trail may officially have been directed by Senkichi Taniguchi, but it strikes me as screenwriter Akira Kurosawa's film through and through.

    First, and most obviously, there's the presence of Kurosawa's longtime ensemble players Takashi Shimura and Toshiro Mifune. As in so many Kurosawa-directed films (e.g. Drunken Angel, Stray Dog, Seven Samurai), they simultaneously hate each other, need each other, and hate that they need each other. Their conflict underscores the existential and intergenerational struggles facing postwar Japan. It is a battle…

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  • Fruitvale Station

    Fruitvale Station

    ★★★★½

    "I'm tired. Thought I could start over fresh, but shit ain't workin' out."

    Michael B. Jordan's performance in Fruitvale Station is a masterclass in naturalistic storytelling. Roxane Gay notes that "Oscar is a master of code-switching – the man he is with his mother is different from the man he is with his girlfriend and child, with his friends, and in prison," and she is not the only critic to praise the film along these lines. But this appraisal falls…

  • I've Been Afraid

    I've Been Afraid

    ★★★★½

    What if Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" ended not with death, but rebirth?

    Dalí meets creepypasta in interwoven tales of scorched earth and dancing bones. Fear and repression are mediated through print, paint, screen, and song. Insects, freed from subterranean prisons, walk the earth in triumph.

    A pyramid of skulls.

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  • The Lost World

    The Lost World

    ★★★★

    I'd always heard that The Lost World runs just over an hour and was pretty badly deteriorated, so imagine my surprise at hitting play on the Flicker Alley release to discover a beautiful-looking film running nearly two hours.

    Apparently in 2016 the people at Lobster Films completed a 2K restoration using newly discovered footage from the safety print and various fragmentary 16mm copies, and the result may be the most pristine image I've ever seen in a film of this vintage.…

  • McMillion$

    McMillion$

    Between 1989 and 2001, an employee of Simon Marketing – the subcontractor that produced the annual Monopoly game for McDonald's – secretly stole nearly every winning game piece, which he sold to his family and friends. As a result, the game had few if any "real" winners for over ten years. The FBI was tipped off, and ultimately over fifty people were convicted for their involvement in the alleged fraud. Only one, Simon Marketing chief of security Jerome Jacobson, did any…